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[GDS] June 2012 "Pros and Cons" - Critiques

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sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

Use this thread to post constructive critiques of the entries to the June 2012 Challenge in the Game Design Showdown, entitled "Pros and Cons".


sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
The Critiques thread is now

The Critiques thread is now open for business. Thanks to everyone who participated this month. All entrants did vote, so no Pyrite medals were awarded. It may be interesting to note that this month, the ONLY votes came from entrants!

I'll be looking closely at these for use at RinCon, so you may be receiving a message in your inbox about that!

Joined: 05/15/2010
Another creative month

Again it was a pleasure to design and review the games. I had an awesome time working on this project and reading the great work done by the others. Though I wanted to write so much more, and did for the full game, it was very hard to get what I wanted in the submission... Hence the challenge and one of the things I do enjoy. I posted the full version in my Game journal and will add images later. I am on the road for the next two weeks but hope to get critiques done as soon as I get back. Thanks again for another fun and creative month!


Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011
Heya all, Thanks for running

Heya all,

Thanks for running a funny game design challenge seth, also - might be good to actually get one in use as a convention game!

As I said previously, I was very unhappy that I missed the entry date! I'm including my entry here for you guys to see what you WOULD have thought of it, were it entered in time :)


ARMIES! - A creative trading card game for ∞ players


Each player is given one blank paper sheet. This is the “recruits” sheet.
Each vendor has a stack of blank, specially coloured (or watermarked) paper sheets. These are “special recruits”.
Each sheet is turned into 8 cards (Fold paper lengthways, then half and half again) and cut or ripped.

Main Rules

The players then draw a unit on each of his recruit cards. He may grade his cards specially (or they may come prelabeled) as; 1 “Elite” card, 3 “Champion” cards, and 5 “Common” cards. Each unit must then be signed or initialled by the player.
Players must trade their cards with other player’s cards (no trade rules are given i.e. Two for One, trading trades, or trades outside the game are all legal). The goal is for the players to collect the most impressive and formidable army.
At the end of the con, players submit their armies. The player’s own units may never be part of his army at the end, only traded cards count. Whoever has the biggest, wildest, most impressive army is declared the winner.
Special prizes for best Elite, Best Champion, and Best common, and best Vendor army, best backstory.

Other Rules

Vendors are also looking to collect armies and may give out further blank recruit sheets or single precut cards to players for favourable trades. Of course the vendors cannot create their own drawings and as such will be asking for a very hefty trade for a page of fresh recruits.
In each different area, there will be an area vendor in which players can get a special “Backstory” card. These will be singular one off cards that say things like “My Armies Name is _____”, “My Armies Goal is ____”, “An interesting thing about my army is ____”, “The general of my army is called _____” etc. (flexible depending on the number of areas)
Extra points will be given for interesting text embellishments, ridiculous units, funny ideas, drawing skills, poor drawing skills, parodies, matching armies, eclectic armies, chain of command, paper work, creative ideas, stickmen, unicorns, superheroes, pirates, ninjas, dinosaurs, healers, warriors, fairies, colours, bows, snipers, mounts, upgrades, mecha, mutants, spys, magicians, vampires, spacemen, robots, explosions – what will be in YOUR army?

With more money for materials

Pre-printed recruit paper with rules written on the back, or 8 precut and bordered paper cards.
“Elite” vendors can be given special gold bordered cards they can trade out in which any unit drawn on it automatically becomes Elite.
Each player may be given an “Armies!” badge or pin that they can proudly display.


On retrospective analysis, this game is very similar to "The Hunt" by raven lock, it's just that in Armies! You need to create your own cards!

Would love to hear your thoughts!

federicolatini's picture
Joined: 04/15/2012
A better rule for my game

As a matter of fact I wrote the rules of my entry as a burst of creativity, but in a cuple of week I had the chance to mumble a bettering rule wich is:
To cut a paper in order to let another player join your color team you need to go to the vendor, he will cut it in half as long as your paper is bigger than 2x2 cm.

Vendors may have special scissors for a kind of signed cut but I don't think it would be necessary (nerds tend to be honest people)

What do you think of it?

Speaking of the entries I read in this contest I was very surprised because nobody really wrote with affordability in mind, my driver was: " think about something effective but not expensive for the Con organization".
Feasibility was my second pivot, I wanted to provide a simple to organize and to play game.
I voted the entries with those two criteria in mind.
How about your drivers and your criterias?

Matthew Rodgers
Matthew Rodgers's picture
Joined: 03/01/2012
Paperthin Trust

In trying to be ready for critique time, I prewrote extensive comments on all the games, including yours (which got the Gold Medal from me). Then somehow I trashed the file. :( anyways, I used to work for a shop where we did movie theater vouchers and we got special patterned paper (which can't be copied) in press sheet sizes (22 in x 35 in), meaning one sheet would provide all con attendees with at least a 2 cm x 2 cm piece. It was a very economical game!

For my game, I wish I had done a better job editing.... my line about the cards should have been "the cards are business-card size, since you can get larger volumes of these cards for fairly cheap" and if I did it for real, I'd probably make the hand size seven cards to reduce costs again.

federicolatini's picture
Joined: 04/15/2012
Thanks for your gold medal! I

Thanks for your gold medal! I haven't thought about the business card low cost option, wich now open me a huge variety of possibilities in my mind!

Your game has the flaws that you summarize well at the end of the rules: multiple tipe of cards and lots of logistic effort involved for the vendors. Nothing more than that.

I hope you'll be able to retrieve your critiques files!

Ciao ciao

Joined: 09/27/2011
Critiques 'n' stuff

So I had some broad critiques that covered a good deal of the entries. These critiques were also the main motivators behind my idea. In general, I really didn't like these two things:
1. Vendors are there to "give you stuff"
2. Collectable cards (massive, unknown print and design volume)

That being said, I have some notes on each of the games.

#1 Pros in Cons
Basically just the standard critiques
Area interaction was just extended vendor interaction
Thematically cool though

#2 Paperthin Trust
Area interaction could have been better
But a really cool, different idea
I didn't quite understand everything about it
But stood out as a unique idea

#3 The Game
Amazing envelope idea
I will be using that if I ever run a scavenger hunt
That being said, vendor interaction suffers
Unless there is a clue for EACH vendor

#4 Primal Quest
I was really confused here
Not a huge fan of the idea of "following"
Not sure I would want to play the sidekick in a game
Also, the Chronicler job seems like an impossible job

#5 Beggars
The unique end game is nice here
But it is the embodiment of the "get stuff from vendors" problem

#6 Pros and Cons CCG
Literally the idea I was avoiding
Well designed and funded, probably great fun
Designed over the course of this year and funded by a small con: not confident

#7 Convential Mage
Loved the theme and name
Then realized it was a card game where you get stuff from vendors

#8 The Hunt
I'm not going to lie
My critique log just says: "AAAAH! STOP GETTING STUFF FROM VENDORS!"
I realize this won
But after so many card games where you beg I just gave up

#10 Con-quest Codebreakers
Was warming up to this one
but I didn't understand the "lying" part
Plus at the end it's just a raffle
which isn't much of a game
and gives you no sense of accomplishment

#11 Board Games - The Game
Really liked this
The allegiance idea was one that I used as well
plus you actually played stuff
instead of just collecting
still had "get stuff from vendors"
but the rest of it was so great

My medals were:
Gold: #11 Board Games - The Game
Silver: #3 The Game
Bronze: #2 Paperthin Trust

Matthew Rodgers
Matthew Rodgers's picture
Joined: 03/01/2012

Just a question... why do you think getting stuff from vendors is bad, especially as one of the stated goals is to increase vendor /attendee interaction?

As a small time vendor, I've noticed nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd. Most small vendors would love to have people milling in front of their booth all the time, it makes them look busy and exciting.

Can't help you on the card thing, :)

Joined: 09/27/2011
Vendor Interaction

It's not that I don't want people interacting with vendors, it's just that the idea of going there to get something didn't seem like a good idea to me. Firstly, there could be problems with setup. Does each vendor have to have 500 of their thing? If they run out on the first day, will people stop going? If word gets around that some of the vendors got the shitty monster/spell/whatever cards, will no one ever go there? I remember there being an idea that involved constant re-stocking of vendor stuff, and that seemed like an unnecessary strain on the convention staff. I was personally motivated to create a game with an unchanging stock and a self-sufficient vendor interaction.

The second thing about "get stuff from vendors" is that I didn't feel like it was a sufficient interaction to interest people in the booths. It could easily just turn into a line of people with their hands out, not looking at the stuff actually being vended. Then the vendor would have to make the determination as to who to give stuff to, if not everyone, and again, vendors who gave cards out more freely would be more popular. I wanted the player to do more at the table, and to create a little event whenever they went there. That's why there are vendor minigames in my design. Codebreakers had a similar thing, where interacting with a vendor was a conversation, not a handout.

That being said, there are definitely some crappy things about my vendor interaction. It could be argued that the vendors don't have the time to be officiating a minigame every five minutes, and that if your color already owns a vendor, you won't want to go over there. Nothing is perfect, but I decided to lean to the side of possibly annoying instead of possibly boring.

federicolatini's picture
Joined: 04/15/2012

ReluctantPirateGames wrote:

#2 Paperthin Trust
Area interaction could have been better
But a really cool, different idea
I didn't quite understand everything about it
But stood out as a unique idea
Bronze: #2 Paperthin Trust

first of all thanks for the bronze medal and the positive comments you wrote, secondly if there are some blurred areas in the rules just ask and I'll try to make them as clear as I can. Moreover I'd like to know what you tink about changing the "cut your paper in half by your self" rule to "people need to go to vendors to let their paper be cutted in half" rule. Do you think it adds more to the vendors interactions or is just more messy?

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